The Legal Investigator Spring 2011 : Page 3

on getting witnesses or parties under the jurisdiction of the court. First Time Contacts So, the investigator has never had contact with the witness or party. The first visits to an address, home or work may be fruitless. The investigator should note vehicles, license plate numbers, state where licensed. Vehicles can tell many stories. There may be signs or stickers denoting a place of employment or self employment. Documents, paper and things in plain sight can disclose employment, children and if there is a spouse. This would mean the children and spouse may be around early in the morning departing for school. How old are the children? The toys, size of bicycles and footprints are of value. It does seem that children that are older are much more likely to be involved in after school activities and therefore the parent(s) just might not be home in the evenings. Animals are a very good clue because they must be provided care daily. Evening service is best in these situations. Tire tracks are helpful if available. They depict the type of vehicle such as a truck, comings and goings, how many vehicles and how fresh the tracks are will disclose how often and when the party is coming/leaving home. This works very well in rural settings, dirt roads and snow country. Rural areas? Skillful investigators will check for a forwarding address at the local post office on the trip back if no contact can be made. Sometimes these rural postal clerks will voluntarily talk about the party and provide a place of employment, new address and so forth. Not rural? A trip to the post office that handles forwarding addresses for a particular zip code should be visited. It is best to telephone the post office first because in congested cities there can be several postal annexes for one zip code, but only one provides forwarding addresses. Make sure to bring the service documents to show the postal clerk along with the proper request form in compliance with 39 CFR 265.6(d)(5)(ii). We all have been faced with the dreaded post office box number as the only address. A request under 39 Spring 2011 CFR 265.6(d)(5)(ii) will allow an investigator to obtain a physical address for the purposes of service of process. Once the physical address has been obtained, some investigators have another form filled out for a forwarding address on the physical address just provided to be extra cautious as at times, the physical address is not current. A box owned by a business is fair game and the information as to the physical address is far easier to request -verbally and asking to look at the application. If the physical address is not current, the investigator can simply return to the postal clerk and ask that mail be held while an update notice is placed in the box by the clerk. If the clerk is cooperative, they may even call the investigator when the new information is provided by the box holder. Another way to catch a witness is to call the local sanitation service for the address being worked. Then the investigator can wait either in the evening or early morning for the party to exit the residence to set out the trash bin. Of course, some of these methods assume that the person is avoiding service which all know how uncommon that is! Tricky Situations: Gates One at times has to be part mountain goat to access some properties these days. However, a simple three step folding ladder can overcome many situations. The law is clear on these matters, and a person legally authorized to serve civil or criminal process has an absolute privilege to enter property to deliver legal documents. A “no trespassing” sign is not valid. But a sign that some crazed human being posts that states the “use of deadly force is authorized” should be eyed with appropriate caution. Perhaps waiting for someone to exit would seem more prudent. In more urban settings, the investigator may be faced with the community that uses remote control devices or punch in key pads to activate a gate. In these cases, it is best to wait until a resident enters and to follow them right on through with the car. After five P.M. is a good time because of the amount of traffic and the server can just slide in with the traffic flow. 5

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